Combined with a short holiday to Scotland is the chance to take my Dad for an e-bike shopping trip, encouraging him to take the plunge into electrically-assisted cycling.
He has been hedging around the idea for the last year, pretty much ever since he passed his personal milestone of a half million miles cycled under his own steam. Now his 80th birthday has arrived and he is determined to keep up his distances, but the hilly terrain around Crieff is a bit of a challenge.
The main problem we all face is that the e-bike market can be a bewildering pool of jargon which could put anyone off and in the UK the sector is really not developed yet, so there are not machines on every corner to study.
Hence we booked ourselves in for a test ride at Electric Bikes Scotland in Dundee where we were promised a selection of bikes to try out. However it was actually much easier than that and my thanks go to John at the shop who did most of the thinking for us. I gave him a ring a few weeks ago and described Dad’s specifications and some selected bikes were already waiting for us when we arrived. Eliminating the bikes with suspension meant Dad was soon being coached on the features of the Gazelle Cityzen as the personal recommendation for his style of riding.
It didn’t take long before he was circling the car park and then set off for a spin around the boundary roads of Dundee United’s Tannadice football ground, conveniently situated on the side of a steep hill above the Tay Estuary and a perfect test bed for electric boost. John lent my son Ben and I a very nice Cube E-MTB to take turns in accompanying him.
You can have all your fancy test routes and wonderful riding trails, but it is a tribute to the magic of e-bikes that three very experienced riders were riding around some nondescript urban roads between a footie stadium and an industrial estate with huge smiles on our faces. Its just that lovely feeling of applying pressure to the pedals and feeling the bikes respond immediately, almost like we would feel if we were super fit and riding at the top of our form. And that’s before engaging “Turbo” mode!
Will most be bikes be e-bikes in ten years time like many in the industry believe? Frankly they they are just the most incredibly seductive way to get people riding, they just make you smile as soon as you test one.
Amazingly Dad didn’t place his order on the spot, but he is already planning his return trip. There was more than one on and off switch which may have triggered a touch of techno-phobia, but his sons and daughter-in-laws just need him to get his finger out, this is his future! Thanks very much John for being so patient, answering all the questions and preparing the bikes.